What is the meaning of the sentences:

  1. The bailer's on a jip (= the harvester, combine has got some troubles, stopped working?)

  2. That's the whole harvest shot clean to buggery right there (?)

These come from The Ferryman a 2017 play by Jez Butterworth about a family in rural Northern Ireland.

  • 2
    Please tell us what book these sentences come from. You have been asked before to give the source when asking the meaning of a sentence. Apr 10, 2021 at 13:14
  • The book is called The Ferryman
    – Susa
    Apr 10, 2021 at 13:28
  • ...and who wrote it? Apr 10, 2021 at 13:29
  • 1
    From the full OED: to give (a person) gyp: (of a part of the body, a situation, a condition, etc.) to hurt (a person), to cause pain for; (hence) to cause trouble for, to irritate or distress. It's probably the same word that's more often used in colloquial AmE to mean trick, con (verb and noun, spellings include jip AND gyp), but in the cited context it's trouble (the bailer's on the blink, not working properly). Apr 10, 2021 at 14:47
  • 1
    (Butterworth is English, so it's quite natural for him to say that something's shot to buggery, but that particular turn of phrase would probably appear strange to most Americans.) Apr 10, 2021 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


It was pointed out in the comments that jip is Irish slang for sperm or ejaculated semen, so an equivalent US phrase for the first sentence might be something like “The bailer is jacking off” or in non vulgar terms, “The bailer isn’t working”. The second sentence is clear: the harvest was lost, typically this would be because of frost or rain or flooding, although drought or locust also be the cause. The result of losing a harvest is somewhere between severe financial loss and death.

  • ... to "shoot to buggery" is a bit obscene expression, is not it? :-) I understand the meaning, but still there are nuances in translations... thank you./ In terms of the first question, the context is: The ground is still too wet. The bailer's on a jip.
    – Susa
    Apr 10, 2021 at 15:40
  • I see it's a play set in Northern Ireland. I can't find any reference to the specific phrase 'on a jip' so we can only guess that it means broken down - and, yes, 'shot to buggery' is pretty crude language. Apr 10, 2021 at 15:55
  • @Susa: yes, and for a farmer, loosing a harvest is well worth some obscenity.
    – jmoreno
    Apr 10, 2021 at 19:03
  • You can say 'buggery' or 'buggered' pretty safely in the UK these days, especially if you aren't using it in the legal sense. Apr 10, 2021 at 21:18
  • @jmoreno "loosing a harvest is well worth some obscenity" - yes, and losing it even more so. Apr 10, 2021 at 21:22

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